Art And Renaissance And Baroque Italy

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In the debate over the proper way in which to make art in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, the debate, seems to have hardened into a matter of disegno and colore, with each representing a whole artistic philosophy exacerbated by an wrapped up in civic pride, competition and individual ego. If taken at face value, disegno, represented by Georgio Vasari and practiced in Florence, was the essence of rationality and intellectual detail, demanding artists who could be “universal” (this being too early to call themselves “Renaissance men”), and engage in planning out projects with extensive sketches, experiments in perspective, technical mastery and serious study of classical models and living masters. For Vasari, disegno was a “mental faculty by which, through abstraction from nature, an idea was evoked in the artist’s mind which determined the forms created by him,” in a process of invenzione. Famously, he related the story of an artist who saw just the paw of a lion sculpted from marble, but because the disegno was so good, the viewer could follow through and visualize the entire beast. A paragon of this process would be an academician, professionalized by formal study of anatomy, optics and perspective and would be familiar with common pattern books. All of this preparation allowed the Florentine artist to work in the unforgiving medium of fresco, where the fast-drying plaster yielded beautiful colors, but allowed for no hesitation and no mistakes. On the other side
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